Connect. Learn. Share.

Who we are

The Private Refugee Sponsor Network (Ontario), also known as PRSN, is an incorporated non-profit organization that assists private refugee sponsor groups – whether faith-based, community-based, or a group of five. We help sponsors connect, learn and share.  

 

Our goal is to promote and ensure the successful post-arrival settlement of newcomers by private sponsors in partnership with many organizations in the refugee settlement sector.  

 

We do not sponsor refugees, find sponsors or serve individual newcomers. We do not help with immigration issues.

What We Do

We offer services such as networking and training at no cost. Any private sponsor group in Ontario can become associated with PRSN by completing the Contact Us form, to receive information about our activities.

 

We are the go-to source for information-sharing, and problem-solving around specific post-arrival issues, as well as training to develop best practice. Experienced sponsors can mentor first-time sponsors with immediate answers to pressing issues.

 

We recognize there are gaps in support services for private sponsors. Settlement agencies and organizations that serve government-assisted refugees are often overwhelmed and are unable to assist private sponsors in a timely way, but we can help.  And, we are committed to building new relationships and maintaining existing ones with organizations in the refugee sector.

 

If you are a private sponsor in another province or territory, we would love to talk about how you can set up a network in your jurisdiction. Get in touch with us at info@refugeesponsornet.ca

Join us

We all benefit when we connect, learn and share. We have an opportunity to close the gaps in support to private refugee sponsors when we work together. We have an opportunity to create stronger relationships with settlement agencies and sponsorship agreement holders (SAHs), and we identify what we need to do to ensure best practice. We will be better able to demonstrate the important role we play in settling newcomers in Canada, whether we are in an urban or a smaller or rural community. We are here for you.

Our History

Between November 2015 and December 2016, close to 40,000 Syrians arrived in Canada.  Forty-five per cent of those newcomers were privately sponsored. Data collected from a variety of sources documented the challenges in both government- assisted refugee settlement and settlement by private sponsors.

 

Private sponsors who were looking for immediate answers to challenges found them by working together — sharing experiences and determining those areas they needed to learn more about.  Experienced sponsors began to mentor first-time sponsors on post-arrival issues leading to a resource around best practice. An informal network was born.

 

Since 2016, more than 400 sponsor groups working together have become a formal Ontario provincial network. There is potential, using this model, to grow this network concept across Canada in other provinces and territories.

Our Leadership

We are a volunteer driven Network that responds to the needs of those who participate. A ten-person board of directors, representative of Network members and those from the refugee settlement sector provide governance and financial accountability.

Our Leadership

We are a volunteer driven Network that responds to the needs of those who participate. A ten-person board of directors, representative of Network members and those from the refugee settlement sector provide governance and financial accountability.

Services

The Network offers online workshops to address issues identified by private sponsors. Since 2016, we have offered over 20 workshops chosen to meet immediate need around issues of culture, accommodation, employment, education, ESL, among others.

 

Participants have appreciated the practical tips, expert advice and counsel, and input from individuals with lived experience. They came to the event with questions and went home with answers. They avoided pitfalls, accessed new ideas and new resources.

 

Our 2022 series of two-hour, online workshops include:

We offer an opportunity for private refugee sponsors to connect, learn and share.  We have found that sharing our experience, challenges and success goes a long way to ensure effective and efficient settlement practice.  Newcomers benefit from sponsors connecting. 

 

Our goal is to be the “go-to” organization, a trusted resource, where sponsors can learn from each other through collaboration with settlement agencies and experts in a variety of fields.  We want to make a difference in the lives of newcomers. 

 

Sponsors want resources and supports that work and have been tested by other sponsors. They want to improve their settlement practice based on sponsor experience.

 

Our track record of responding to sponsor post-arrival need by developing services that equip them with skills and knowledge has demonstrated the Network’s role of connection, learning and sharing. 

 

Whether it is through our skills development workshops focussed on challenging post-arrival issues, or problem-solving through Lunch & Learns, or access to information-sharing, participants acknowledge the important role the Network plays in providing supports..

 

Participants have appreciated the practical tips, expert advice and counsel, and input from individuals with lived experience. Sponsors came to events with questions and went home with answers. They avoided pitfalls, accessed new ideas and new resources – all to ensure best practice in settlement. 

 

Knowledgeable and well-trained sponsors are key to successful settlement. Newcomers who are sponsored benefit from the personal relationships established and the lived experience of those who sponsor them. Research demonstrates that sponsored newcomers integrate much faster into Canadian life. 

Our Record

We have a proven five-year record of achievement with federal incorporation in 2021.  We have over 450 sponsors in our database who participate in Network communication and activities.   

Workshops

We offer online workshops addressing private sponsor issues identified by private sponsors. Since 2016, The Network has met the needs of sponsors through skills development with two-hour online workshops. Topics have included addressing issues such as understanding cultural impact, challenges in finding accommodation, dealing with health issues, accessing education certification, creating employment strategies, what ESL works best, how to address needs in smaller communities, opening a conversation around financial planning and child protection, among others. To register, watch for our flyers on Eventbrite, or send an email to info@refugeesponsornet.ca.

 

Our current series of workshops from 10:00 am to 12 noon includes:

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Addressing Cultural Differences in Parenting Styles

  • Acquire a better understanding of the culture and legal implications of parenting in Canada
  • Learn how to remain respectful of newcomers’ parenting styles while helping them understand child protection in Canada
  • Learn how to open the conversation about positive parenting
  • Join a breakout room following the workshop to connect, learn and share
Saturday, February 25, 2023

Accessing the Skilled Trades for Employment 

  • Learn more about the skilled trades sector and training it provides newcomers 
  • Learn more about language requirements and licensing 
  • Explore how to access employment opportunities 
  • Join a post-workshop discussion to connect, learn and share 
Saturday, May 13, 2023

Learning a New Language: What does it take?

  • Understand the issues and barriers that newcomers face 
  • Learn how to identify suitable ESL programs, coach newcomers in their learning process as well as their day-to-day language acquisition  
  • Consider tools & techniques to support formal classes to achieve success 
  • Join a post-workshop discussion to connect, learn and share 
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Planning for Month 13
  • Learn it starts early to ensure newcomers are ready for moving to independence both emotionally and financially 
  • Conduct a needs assessment, measuring success and next steps 
  • Identify ongoing support that might be needed and how to put that in place 
  • Join a post-workshop discussion to connect, learn and share 
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Recognizing Behaviours that Might Indicate Trauma
  • Learn what trauma is and how it impacts daily settlement life
  • Understand how to better recognize behaviours that might result from trauma
  • and when to access community supports or consult with experts
  • Explore why understanding culture is important to sensitive issues
  • Join a post-workshop discussion to connect, learn and share
Information-sharing

We share specific information with Network participants through regular emails. When you have something that might benefit others, you are encouraged to send it to info@refugeesponsornet.ca, and we will pass the information along to members.

Problem-solving

If you are looking for a mentor, or someone who has direct experience with a specific challenge you are facing, let us know by sending an email to info@refugeesponsornet.ca.  We will do our best to connect you with a member who can help.